[openstack-dev] [tc][appcat][murano][app-catalog] The future of the App Catalog

Christopher Aedo doc at aedo.net
Wed Mar 8 04:09:41 UTC 2017

On Mon, Mar 6, 2017 at 3:26 AM, Thierry Carrez <thierry at openstack.org> wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> The App Catalog was created early 2015 as a marketplace of pre-packaged
> applications that you can deploy using Murano. Initially a demo by
> Mirantis, it was converted into an open upstream project team, and
> deployed as a "beta" as apps.openstack.org.
> Since then it grew additional categories (Glance images, Heat & Tosca
> templates), but otherwise did not pick up a lot of steam. The website
> (still labeled "beta") features 45 glance images, 6 Tosca templates, 13
> heat templates and 94 murano packages (~30% of which are just thin
> wrappers around Docker containers). Traffic stats show around 100 visits
> per week, 75% of which only read the index page.
> In parallel, Docker developed a pretty successful containerized
> application marketplace (the Docker Hub), with hundreds of thousands of
> regularly-updated apps. Keeping the App Catalog around (including its
> thinly-wrapped Docker container Murano packages) make us look like we
> are unsuccessfully trying to compete with that ecosystem, while
> OpenStack is in fact completely complementary.

Without something like Murano "thinly wrapping" docker apps, how would
you propose current users of OpenStack clouds deploy docker apps?  Or
any other app for that matter?  It seems a little unfair to talk about
murano apps this way when no reasonable alternative exists for easily
deploying docker apps.  When I look back at the recent history of how
we've handled containers (nova-docker, magnum, kubernetes, etc) it
does not seem like we're making it easy for the folks who want to
deploy a container on their cloud...

Please understand I am not pleading to keep the Community App Catalog
alive in perpetuity.  This just sounds like an unfair point of
comparison.  One of the biggest challenges we've faced with the app
catalog since day one is that there is no such thing as a simple
definition of an "OpenStack Application".  OpenStack is an IaaS before
anything else, and to my knowledge there is no universally accepted
application deployment mechanism for OpenStack clouds.  Heat doesn't
solve that problem as its very operator focused, and while being very
popular and used heavily, it's not used as a way to share generic
templates suitable for deploying apps across different clouds.  Murano
is not widely adopted (last time I checked it's not available on any
public clouds, though I hear it is actually used on a several
university clouds, and it's also used on a few private clouds I'm
aware of.)

As a place to find things that run on OpenStack clouds, the app
catalog did a reasonable job.  If anything, the experiment showed that
there is no community looking for a place to share OpenStack-specific
applications.  There are definitely communities for PaaS layers (cloud
foundry, mesosphere, docker, kubernetes), but I don't see any
community for openstack-native applications that can be deployed on
any cloud, nor a commonly accepted way to deploy them.

> In the past we have retired projects that were dead upstream. The App
> Catalog is not in this case: it has an active maintenance team, which
> has been successfully maintaining the framework and accepting
> applications. If we end up retiring the App Catalog, it would clearly
> not be a reflection on that team performance, which has been stellar
> despite limited resources. It would be because the beta was arguably not
> successful in building an active marketplace of applications, and
> because its continuous existence is not a great fit from a strategy
> perspective. Such removal would be a first for our community, but I
> think it's now time to consider it.
> Before we discuss or decide anything at the TC level, I'd like to
> collect everyone thoughts (and questions) on this. Please feel free to
> reply to this thread (or reach out to me privately if you prefer). Thanks !

As the former PTL I am obviously a little bit biased.  Even though my
focus has shifted and I've stepped away from the app catalog, I had
been spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to make
applications an easy to run thing on OpenStack.  I've also been trying
to find a community of people who are looking for that, and it doesn't
seem like they've materialized; possibly because that community
doesn't exist?  Or else we just haven't been able to figure out where
they're hiding ;)

The one consideration that is pretty important here is what this would
mean to the Murano community.  Those folks have been contributed time
and resources to the app catalog project.  They've also standardized
on the app catalog as the distribution mechanism, intending to make
the app catalog UI a native component for Murano. We do need to make
sure that if the app catalog is retired, it doesn't hamper or impact
people who have already deployed Murano and are counting on finding
the apps in the app catalog.


> --
> Thierry Carrez (ttx)
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